Christmas is fast approaching and many people are shopping for gifts. But there are two steps to buying a gift, I believe. The first, naturally, is being able to set aside money for this. It’s not the amount that matters for with the way the economy is going, saving even the smallest amount is a near impossibility for many. But somehow, we usually scale that first hurdle.

The second step, which I consider more crucial, is choosing the right gift. Picture this: Stella’s friend is getting married on Saturday. After work on Friday, she dashes into a shop and picks up a wall clock for the couple. So do a sizable number of others. I doubt that the poor couple will have enough walls to hang all the clocks and framed posters coming in.

[bctt tweet=”A gift that is carelessly chosen may not be useful to or appreciated by the receiver.” username=”edithohaja1″]

It’s the same with Angela. Her friend has just been delivered of a baby. She gives the family a plastic baby bath. But it’s not their first child and baby baths last and last. So they won’t be needing this one for a few years yet, that is if they ever do.

We can multiply the scenarios but the lesson is the same. A gift is most appreciated when it can be put to immediate and frequent use. This brings to mind a young man who bought some books for his elder sister. When he came to visit some months later, she complained that she had been unable to read most of them. They were simply over her head and failed to speak to her needs at the time. Doubting the correctness of her assessment, he tried to read first one, and then another, without success. He hadn’t even browsed through before buying them. His Parthian shot was, “Not to worry, you’ll grow and catch up with these books someday.” That may be so but meanwhile, the books gather dust on the shelves and the paper inside develops unsightly patches.

The best way to avoid the foregoing is to thoughtfully choose our gifts. What does that mean? We should take time to consider the receivers, their circumstances and dispositions. We can even ask them to verify our conclusions.

It’s true we love to surprise people in these matters but where’s the value or the joy in the surprise when we’re so often off the mark. The real danger in asking the receiver, however, is in his or her sense of modesty getting in the way. Insist on getting only honest answers. And if you’re afraid they’ll make a steep demand, disclose the amount you’re willing to spend.

[bctt tweet=”Where’s the joy or value in surprising people with gifts that are far from what they need?” username=”edithohaja1″]

(Related: Giving Brings Unparalleled Joy)

But if you object to this approach, you have an even better option. You can pray and have God guide you into choosing the perfect gift. Remember He gave us our Saviour, Jesus, the best gift we could ever ask for.

“C’mon!” you say, “How can you bring God into something as trivial as giving a gift?”

But He longs to participate in every facet of our lives. And it’s in the details of our lives, in the most ‘secular’ of our endeavours, that we can hone our skills in hearing from Him and relying on His infallible judgment.

How can I be sure of this? Because that’s what I do. I ask Him whenever I want to please someone beyond words, for you see, He knows the receivers even better than they know themselves. Perhaps, you want someone to let out a whoop of delight this Christmas:

“Just what I’ve been praying for. Tried to get it a few times but never had enough money. Bless you, bless you, bless you a million times!”
“Where in the world did you find this? I’ve searched all over for it and given up . How wonderful that I have it at last, thanks to you! Bless you ….!

[bctt tweet=”Choosing the perfect gift requires prayer and thoughtfulness.” username=”edithohaja1″]

Now you know what to do. Meanwhile, have a fun-filled shopping time and a very merry Christmas.

Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2017

This article was originally published in my book, Feature Writing Simplified, under the title, “What I want for Xmas”. This is a slightly edited version.


You may also like the following popular posts about Christmas and giving:





SEEKING THE LORD (3 Lessons Learnt from the Magi)







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  • James ojo

    Fascinating read! Giving is like a producer trying to satisfy his consumer. The problem with people, l believe, is that they are ignorant of the very essence of gifts. Beyond the surprise, excitement and praises put up by the receiver, begs the question of satisfaction derivable from such gift. I learnt a lot from this piece. I’ve been a culprit all this while.

  • Oh yes !its also good if you seek for an opinion of a friend of the person you want to get the gift for, this can help too in that case, it can still be a surprise to the person.

  • Imagine a friend who understands you right from favourite color! I still remember my last year’s Christmas gift like it was yesterday. It’s a high time I start preparing my surprises.

  • Well, I credit God helping me paint a flower garden on two walls in my daughter’s bedroom, I am sure He could help me shop! Thank you for the fun post, sister.

  • chinenye nwokoye

    I always feel happy when I give someone something that he/she needs and actually uses afterwards. Thank you ma for this piece.

  • udeh bessing

    Gift that does not add value to someone is not a gift. you give people gifts that when they see them, you will forever be in their hearts. Gift of value, not irrelivant gift. I pray God directs me on the type of gifts to give to my friends this Xmas. this is really wonderful, ma. Thanks and God bless you.

  • maduebo ifunanya blessing

    giving someone a gift on special events like Christmas, valentine, birthday means that you have affection for the person. but when giving the gift, try to give valuable things and the person will always appreciate that.


    It is not always easy to know the best item as gift to buy for your friend, relatives or even neighbours but the fact is that circumstances and economic status oftentimes determines what we present as gifts to people. Also, seasons or type of celebrations like birthdays, weddings etc can be a determinant of what to buy as gifts for people.


    LOL……. I remember buying an undersized singlet for my younger brother and an oversize shoe for my mum simply because i wanted to surprise them and did not want to ask them of their sizes. Didn’t know that the little boy has outgrown his age lol……
    I felt bad anyway and the joy of the whole gift was lost since the gifts could not fit in its various owners. i more or less wested the resources.
    Since then, i learnt my lesson and i don’t fail to ask “what should i get you and what size”? because ‘once beaten, twice shy’ and also to avoid stories that touch!

  • Fidelis Favour Chiamaka

    I love surprises. There’s this joy you get when someone remembers you and get you something you actually want. In getting a gift for someone,you should also consider the colour. If you get me anything in Orange colour, I will just keep it one side.


    Gifts should be treated the way news is packaged. We must consider the receiver in order to make our effort fruitful. One area got me thinking here and it says, ‘A gift that is carelessly chosen may not be useful to or appreciated by the receiver”. This is certainly true. Though the receiver might pretend to find it pleasing, but deep inside him/her, it’s not.

  • Okeke, Miriam Nzubechukwu

    When a gift is properly chosen and delivered to the right one, appreciation would be much more granted. Therefore, we should be careful in choosing gifts.

  • Ewa Chiamaka

    Gifts should be chosen wisely. it doesn’t matter the size or amount, all that matters is how useful it will be.

  • Rahman Peace Taiye

    Giving someone the perfect gift matters a lot. While you might not want to ask the person what you should get because you want to surprise them, it is advisable to ask someone very close to them. I remember the gifts I got when I got admission and was preparing for school. My twin sis got me a food flask, a friend got me a pair of sandals and another friend got me a wristwatch. I’m not a watch person, so, you can guess what happened. I left the watch. It wasn’t because I didn’t appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into it or the money she spent. I simply forgot to put it into my purse. I only remembered when I saw my new roommate putting on her wristwatch.

  • Lawrence, Ernest Enyi

    Where’s the joy or value in surprising people with gifts that are far from what they need? I really accept this question likes its directed to me. Happened once and would not want same scenario to occur again. Knowing the essence of gifting is outstanding and should thus be taken into serious cognizance. This is like a reminder to me. Thanks a bunch Ma!

  • Before getting a gift for someone consider the kind of person you are getting it for, because people like me that don’t easily appreciate the wrong gift ‘ll get upset over the wrong gift than being exited.

  • okereke chukwuemeka matthew

    Its always good to consider the person you are buying a gift for before getting the gift for such person. But in a situation whereby you have known such a person for a long time, knowing what he likes and dislikes its always nice to get him/her a surprise gift that will make such a person happy.

  • Abugu Nkemjika Edith

    surprises can only work perfectly when you know what the person you are giving a gift needs, if not find a way to ask the person what he or she wants. it will really help.

  • Okonkwo chidimma benita

    I think we aren’t supposed to know the content of a gift before it is given to us. Having an idea makes it less surprising. That is the fun.

  • Nnaji Emmanuel chibuike

    Surprising someone with a gift is really awesome but you also have to be talented when it comes to surprising someone with a gift because you’ve got to determine the kind of gift the individual likes so that when you want to surprise them it’ll look lovely to behold.

  • Augustina Okpechi

    Knowing your friends means knowing what they what

  • Ukamaka Ukaegbu Mirabel

    Hahahahaha, this reminds me of a new year gift that I got from my uncle, who I was actually meeting for the first time since I was born. I was literally forced to wear the pants hole for him to see the fittings… funny right but I had no choice because to him am still a little girl. But truth be told I don’t even know where that pants hole is right now.

  • thelma Ideozu

    I like this post because I can refer to it time & time again, not just for Christmas gifts but for birthdays, anniversaries & so on. Thanks, Aunty Edith!

  • Nwosu Esther

    Thanks a lot ma,I also have the same problem of getting gifts for people, I usually do not know what to get. I think u have given me an idea of going to God in prayers,bless u ma

  • Akogu Juliet Aniema

    Getting gifts for people is really something i have to work on…not just getting gifts but getting the right one. But this article has taught me to meet God in prayer for clarity and wisdom to chose the right gift…thanks ma

  • Ugwuanyi Cyprian Fulton Tochi

    Our God is omniscient… All knowing.
    As such because he knows the receiver of our gift more than the person even knows himself,we ought to pray for God’s guidance to help us choose the right gift that will be of essential use to the person who receives it.

  • Akumambila ijeoma Winifred

    I think it’s a bad idea to get to know the content of the gift our love ones get for us. Surprises work well when we don’t know the content. That’s the fun of it.

  • Nathalie Ukwu

    So much truth in this. There is really no point getting a gift for someone just for the heck of it because it would probably end up stored away in the arctic or inside a trunk forever. We have to think outwards when shopping for presents and not inwards (what we would prefer for ourselves instead of the needs of the other person). Selfless thoughts should be given to every present in line with the receivers personality and interests to elicit the right kind of emotions and appreciation.


    The value of every gift is relative to the user. This is why asking somebody what he values before buying it as a gift even when you want to surprise the person. There should be a cunning way to find out what he need. may GOD BLESS YOU MA

  • Ndukwu cynthia chizoba

    surprise is good…….but you will be doing yourself A favour by asking one or two persons related to whoever your surprise is for. i remember how my sister’s husband bothers us everytime he wants to get my sister or my mum something.


    It is most times difficult to determine the right gift to give someone; the one that will appeal to the person especially during Birthdays, xmas, Easter etc. However, with the above instructions and suggestions in the post, i can say the solution has come. Thank You Ma for the Solution.

  • Ugwu Kosisochukwu Ifunanya

    Great tips Ma, I love surprises, but some surprises can just be something else. If you don’t really know the person you are buying a gift for, you can easily ask the person indirectly: I do this a lot and its fun. But God is the ultimate because He is all-knowing.

  • ohakwe oluchi judith

    LOL…I doubt that the poor couple will have enough walls to hang all the clocks and framed posters coming in. this part got me, gift are supposed to be cherished and when it’s not like that then its useless… if you want to buy a gift for someone and you don’t know what he or she wants or need please ask because if you eventually purchase what they don’t want then you did nothing other than wasting resources and time.

  • Chigbo ifeanyi James

    Nice suggestions in ways to get a gift for someone because I always do a bang up job in that aspect.

    I never knew praying to God to guide me when buying gifts for someone was really necessary. Thanks for educating me Ma.

  • Ani Chiamaka Theresa

    Buying people gifts that will be of importance to them is of prime importance… We should always seek to understand what will be useful to our loved ones or at most psyche them indirectly to ascertain wat they like.

  • Ibute kosisochukwu nina

    Gifts add value to someone… Such an interesting piece ma… I love d tips ma… Keep it up.

  • lnegbu Benedict

    Gifts are chosen based on circumstances and situations . Again it is being chosen based on gender and class of people. It is a very nice write up ma. We can always give out something to people no matter the financial status of the receiver or the giver.

  • Eze ifeyiwa edith

    it very important to consider what someone like before getting a parcel or gift for that person because it gives joy when what you gave someone is appreciate even though if it is small,than making someone angry in the name of surprise.

  • Nkwere PraiseGod

    I think surprise packages should be done after a close examination and inquiries of the subject, it could be through discussion or observation. This period of observation is done to know what and what are the needs of the subject, this will of course guide in providing a surprise package for him or her. This is why surprise gifts are best chosen well by a close friend.

  • Peace onoja

    There is this special excitement and joy when someone gives you a present you’ve always wished for. Can remember when i was little my dad bought a bicycle for me as a Christmas present, I was so excited that I fell down and injured myself while running to tell my friends. Lol



  • Aneke Modesta Chinemerem

    A gift is best appreciated when it’s being put to immediate use and this demands going very close to the person and trying to find out his or her immediate needs at the moment because gift without appreciation and use is valueless. Really learnt Alot from this piece MA!

  • Njoku Chioma Grace

    Getting gifts for people especially those close and special to me has never been an easy one because then, I will have to crack my head to get that perfect gift for them. Most times, I succeed and often times, I end up getting them what I didn’t know they already had much to my disappointment. This post has opened my eyes to see that God can also be involved in my gift-making decision when I consult Him on it. Thank you very much ma.

  • Ike Faustina Uchechukwu

    Before we give out gift, we should make sure we know what the recipient of the gift likes,only then can we know the perfect gift for the person, we should also try and buy long lasting gift that will be useful to the person receiving the gift.


    Most times i don’t even know the gift to give someone, but now that i have read this and i know how valuable a gift can be to a person’s life i am going to be more careful, i will also seek people’s opinion, this one is number 1. my friend’s birthday is coming up i think my gift should leave an imprint in his life

  • Joseph Jennifer Ezinne

    The perfect gift is not usually the most expensive, it’s not that gift that was meticulously selected and made,it’s the gift that comes at the right time. The perfect gift might just be a#50 pen to someone who’s stranded in the exam hall or a new footwear to someone who’s stranded along the road. Whether packaged or not,the perfect gift can never be forgotten by the recipient. It is important that we seek God’s guidance in selecting gifts for our loved ones

  • Reuben Empere

    A gift should be well thought about before it should be given out, you shouldn’t just give any gift on mere assumption. At the end of the day what matters most should not be the financial cost of a gift, but its representation and what that person means by offering that gift

  • Obiorah Emmanuel Paschal

    I find it difficult to come up with the idea of the perfect gift. Thank you ma, you just solved that. I once wanted my little sister to appreciate me and I needed something to make her always remember me, but the present I sent her didn’t help but worsen the situation. I don’t want that to happen again.

  • osuegbu prisca

    There is this feeling one gets when someone gets you a gift that is exactly your style, you will be like “wow”. Praying before getting someone a gift is also very good, it can inspire you and help you make the right decision. This article has helped me and guided me through choosing the right gift for the right person.

  • osuegbu prisca

    This article has helped me and guided me through choosing the best gift for the right person. Prayers can also go a long way in choosing a gift, after prayers, one can get inspired and the spirit of God would guide the person.

  • Njoku chiamaka Constance

    I have never felt that prayers are needed when choosing the right gift for the right person, well I will start that method and see if it will also work for me.

  • Alexis Okoye

    This is a nice write – up.MAY God bless u for his mesage

  • Otti Augusta Uzoma

    Now I know how pick the right gift for the right person. Bless u ma

  • Igwe Joshua

    We all need directives on selecting what suits us best. Prayers are perfect guides that helps us choose the right gift. Bless you ma for your inspiration.

  • uzoma chidera

    Its not bad if we ask our friends what they like as a gift and also surprise them with it, its also not bad if we surprise them without asking them. I pray that God surprises us with all that we need.

  • Ezeh onyekachukwu c

    This a wonderful write up ma. We find out that there are certain gifts you give someone and the person will not have any need for it. We should try and give out gifts that will be of great importance and value to people at that particular time.

  • onu victor tochukwu

    Gift is an expression of love. it is important to give people what they really really need not what everyone else gives to the person because you think it is right for the occaision. For example; during my parents wedding ceremony, we were told that most of the people who came brought diapers, hilarious isn’t it? this is because people think that its the perfect gift for the occaision.

  • Ezeorah Cynthia Somtochukwu

    Even after getting a gift that may not be of use to you at that particular time or later in the future, one should at least be grateful for the persons intention of getting that particular gift for you, for you don’t know what the person passed through before getting the gift.

  • Ewurum john

    Fascinating indeed….Its advisable to give the person what he/she utmostly crave for, something that is beyond what others presented in a wedding or birthday as the case may be. It will be highly appreciated as its what he/she needs and not want.

  • Ezeh Blessing

    There is a saying ‘when you know your friends you know what they want’. For a gift to worth its value it must fit the occasion and it must be your friend’s favorite present. Your post has really provided an insight on how to go about choosing a gift. Wonderful post ma

  • Ayigbo Chineme Edna

    The steps you outlined here ma to take before choosing the perfect gift are very crucial. To be frank, I was surprised when you mentioned asking God for direction before choosing a gift but after you gave the reasons why, I was convinced. It is nice to get a gift for someone that he or she will never forget.

  • Agada chinenyenwa lucy

    The Bible said that it is in giving that we receive ,so I think we should always give out things to people who need them whether they received it with good heart or not ,it is only God who rewards us and his reward is everlasting.

  • Precious Gold

    Giving the right gifts is the best part of giving gifts. It inspires love in the heart of the receiver. But just giving gifts anyhow can bring dishonor and no appreciation. It will be better to wait to give the right gift. I choose asking God because people can never be trusted to tell you the real truth unless you ask codedly. And asking them also often spoils the surprise.

  • Sunday Ezekwesiri Daniel

    Gifts can be a way of passing a message to someone. It is an expression of love. A gift presented to one when the person is in need of that particular thing will add a value to ones life and will be more appreciated.


    For you to choose the perfect gift, the giver should also know the tastes of the receiver instead of springing surprises with gifts that are of little or no use to the person.

  • Sefiya

    In everything we do in life, we need God to guide us and choosing the perfect gift isn’t an exception, when we want to choose a gift for someone we think about it and also pray to God’s guidance so we don’t make mistakes


    As you study your friends, try to know things they love. Gifts are amazing when given to friends and loved ones.

  • Ikechebelu Ginika

    When giving a gift, it’s not how expensive it is that matters, what really matters is how immediate and frequently will the receiver use it.

  • Oma

    Our gift should be a gift that makes an impact to a person’s life we don’t give because the bible said is better to be a giver than a receiver but we give to make an impact.

  • Having a friend or people who knows you sometimes more than you know yourself is just a great blessing. They know what to surprise you with and get you crying with joy and vice versa. Givers also never lack. Just like you receive from people, one should also have the spirit of giving because in doing that, you are blessed abundantly by God.

  • Joseph joy

    Gifts should be chosen wisely, therefore give to others what you would want them to give to you, and give it with humility

  • Bessong Faith Ada

    When you have the spirit of giving definitely you will receive abundantly. In the act of giving, let’s try and present something that will created a great impact in the life of a receiver.

  • Chukwurah Nnenna Chisom

    It is not always easy to know the best gift to buy for your friend, relatives and its disappointing when they arent using the gift you end up getting for them. It has happened to me a lot. So its better you ask a close friend of the person involved so as to have a clue….

  • Enwerem Chiamaka

    To give is actually to listen. That’s how one knows the perfect gift for a loved one. Also gifts are a reflection of thoughtfulness. A carefully thought out gift gives the impression that you are actually thinking about the person. I’ll keep being more thoughtful in my choices

  • Ejiofor Emmanuel

    A gift should be something special or useful. It is better appreciated if a gift is something that will be useful for a long period of time. Before we give gifts, it should be given a thought

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